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Benefits and Dangers of Fish Oil for Dogs

In biology, we were taught about the various needs of animals in order for them to survive, and one of those needs is proper nutrition. In the wild, animals fight for their food in the survival of the fittest. It is a different matter when it comes to domesticated pets because they are pampered and are readily provided with their needs. However, there are times when you thought you already gave your pet the best nutrition when in reality it is not yet enough. That is why pet supplements are gaining in popularity nowadays, and one of the most popular in the market is fish oil.

I have several friends who use fish oil for dogs as supplement in their diet. Some of them gave positive feedback while others are reluctant about it. Just like the perennial question of many dog owners “can dog eat bananas,” it is now common to hear pet owners ask questions whether fish oil is good for their dog or not.

Fish oil is said to be rich in EPA and DHA as well as omega-3 fatty acids for the overall health of dogs. However, it also has certain limitations. If you own a dog or two or are interested in having one, it would be good to know the benefits and dangers of fish oils for your pet.

Benefits of Fish Oil in Dogs

  • Promotes healthy coat and skin
  • Reduces inflammation for conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and allergies
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves cognitive function in adult dogs
  • Aids in mental development of puppies and unborn dogs
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps improve the condition of dogs suffering from heart or kidney disease and even cancer
  • Promotes weight loss among overweight dogs

Side Effects of Fish Oil for Dogs

  • The anti-inflammatory properties of EPA and DHA in fish oil may increase the production of chemicals which can decrease platelet activity. Platelets are important for blood clot, and animals who take in great amount of fish oil in their diet have the tendency to loss more blood when injured.
  • Fish oil may also interfere in the healing process of wounds and in the ability of dogs to produce new skin.

It is important to note that fish oil is generally okay for animals as long as it is given in the right amount and extra precaution is exercised when buying and storing the product. Some fish oil in the market may already be spoiled, may contain contaminants, or may have unsafe levels of PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) which can all be harmful to your dog. Even if you buy the right product, storage is another consideration as fish oil in liquid form can easily become rancid if exposed to heat, light or air.

If you are considering fish oil as a supplement for your dog, it would be good to seek advice from your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian may be able to provide you with important details regarding the use of fish oil such as the right dosage to avoid its dangers as well as the right product to buy.